Yost wants to upgrade the Royals' baserunning this year, taking an extra base on hits and getting more steals -- even from an unlikely source like Butler.
2010 Spring Training - null
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"He's pretty much turned us loose, and if I don't abuse it, we can expand on it," Butler said.
Yost figures that Butler could get up to 10 steals a season by picking his spots.
"I have one in my career, and Ned's going to be a little more aggressive than managers we've had in the past," Butler said.
Yost frequently points out that even a big guy like Prince Fielder stole bases for him at Milwaukee, including seven in 2006.
"Teams really don't pay attention to me over there and, if I get a good jump like I did today, I can sneak a few in the right situations," Butler said.
That could be a good thing for the Royals on the field, but not such a good thing for Mike Aviles' ears in the clubhouse.
"He's really been getting on me and Mitch [Maier] that he leads us in stolen bases because he got one in intrasquad," Aviles said with a smile. "Now, he really leads us in stolen bases -- you might want to write that down: 'Butler leads team in stolen bases.'"
Aviles vows he'll do something to head off seeing that headline too often.
"I'm going to try to steal a base myself, so at least we're tied," he said.
Butler, though, says he's going to have some stolen-base attempts this year.
"He'll surprise some people," Yost said.
That's the idea.